Skip to main content

Full text of "My Country And My People"

See other formats

LITERARY   LIFE                        243

suspect even he is capable of such feelings, because after all he
is a Chinese. As a Chinese, he knows how much life is worth,
and at midnight, gazing through his window at the stars, the
lines he learned at childhood come back to him:

I was drunk, half asleep, through the whole livelong day.
Hearing spring'd soon be gone, I hurried on my way.
In a bamboo courtyard I chatted with a monk,
And so leisurely passed one more half-day away.

To him, it is a prayer.

The second type is best represented by Tu Fu, with his quiet
humour, his restraint, his tenderness toward the poor and
oppressed, and his unconcealed hatred of war.

Well it is, too, that the Chinese have poets like Tu Fu and
Po Chiiyi, who portray our sorrows 'in beauty and beget in us
a sense of compassion for mankind. Tu Fu lived in times of
political chaos and banditry and soldiery and famine like our
own, and wrote:

Meats and wines are rotting in the mansions,
And human bones are rotting outside their doors,

A similar note was struck in the Song of the Mulberry Maiden by
Hsieh Fangteh:

When cuckoos cried fourth watch in the dead of the night,
Then I rose, lest the worms, short of leaves, hunger might.
Who'd think that those dames weren't yet through with

their dance?
The pale moon shone through willows o'er their windows


Note the peculiarly Chinese ending, where instead of driving
home a socialistic thought, the poet contents himself with
drawing a picture. Even then, this poem is a little too rebellious
for the average Chinese poetry. The usual note is one of sad-
ness and resignation, as in so many of Tu Fu's poems, describing